If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile or have spoken to me ever, you probably know one thing about me: I’m obsessed (cursed?) with the Pirates.
If you know a second thing, it’s how strongly I feel all businesses need to understand how their online reputation can either help them get more business or have money snatched out of their tills.
Last week we updated you on a sea change for how Google now handles outside reviews. Namely: it no longer lists them on the Places pages themselves. Google said it’s because of recent feedback; others say it’s to deal with long-standing complaints from review sites like Yelp; others are speculating it’s due to a recent FTC probe into their business practices (including specifically about how it handles 3rd party reviews in Places).
Likely it’s a combination of all three and other reasons. Ironically about the FTC probe, if Google’s successful with building the community of artists formerly known as Hotpot and continuing to grow reviews, I think they’ll gain a bigger monopoly than if it continued to show reviews from sites like TripAdvisor.
Any way, Google’s stance is that it has taken down third party reviews from Places Pages, which it has done. You won’t see ratings or reviews on individual Places Pages.
However – outside third party reviews are still appearing in some snippets for Places listings within Maps results. Here’s one example of what is clearly identified as an InsiderPages review:
It appears (I’ve done a little digging, but wouldn’t call the research exhaustive by any stretch) that this is happening when Google Places previously displayed a review from an outside source and there are no current Google account reviews.
I can see how that would happen from a technical standpoint, but just think it’s kind of weird – or an oversight – that you’re seeing that information in the snippets.
As a business owner, you need to be aware these 3rd party reviews could still be haunting or helping you in this way. However, you’ve already been focusing on increasing reviews on Google Places, so it shouldn’t be affecting you, right?